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Azar, Trump administration will no longer hold back second shots, recommend 65 and older get COVID vaccine

ABC NewsBy STEPHANIE EBBS, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — The Trump administration plans to change recommendations on who should get the COVID-19 vaccine to include everyone age 65 and older and younger adults with medical conditions, a major change ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s plans to announce a similar approach later this week.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on ABC’s Good Morning America that the administration will also stop holding enough vaccine to ensure there is enough for everyone to receive a second dose in the recommended time period, a change that Biden said he would make last week.

The changes come amid public frustration about the pace of vaccinations and confusion about the process of who is eligible and limited number of appointments available to be vaccinated.

Public health officials say the pace is picking up somewhat — almost 9 million people have received their first dose according to CDC data — but experts say the pace needs to increase and that state and local jurisdictions need more resources and support to resolve the bottleneck.

Azar also said the administration was willing to “deploy teams to help states doing mass vaccination efforts if they wish to do so.”

“This is just a staging, moving to the next phase on the vaccine program,” Azar said. “We’ve had so much success with quality and predictable manufacturing and almost flawless distribution of the vaccine, but we have seen now that the administration in the states has been too narrowly focused,” he said on Good Morning America.

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